Native title and land rights


Native title and land rights

Native title is the recognition by Australian law that Aboriginal people have rights and interests to their land that come from their traditional laws and customs.

The Native Title Act 1993 recognises that in certain cases there was and is a continued beneficial legal interest in land held by local Aboriginal Australians which survived the acquisition of land by the Crown at the time of sovereignty. Native title can co-exist with non-Aboriginal proprietary rights and in some cases different Aboriginal groups can exercise their native title over the same land.

Native title rights and interests differ from Aboriginal land rights in that the source of land rights is a grant of title from government. The source of native title rights and interests is the system of traditional laws and customs of the native title holders themselves.

Native Title Act 1993 on the Federal Register of Legislation website. 

The role of local councils

Local councils must follow processes outlined in the Native Title Act 1993.  Local councils are custodians of large areas of land and carry out activities where Native Title exists or may exist.  Bellingen Shire Council makes sure that Native Title matters are addressed through planning and decision-making processes.

Council engages with all the different Aboriginal groups with interests in land within its boundary.